After all, I was only seven years older than them…

Had an email from one of the people shown in the following repost, inviting me to a reunion of Cronulla High’s Class of 1968 later this year. Oh my!

More on yesterday’s Shire excursion

The Classes of 68 and 69 may be found here.Flies_away

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prefects1968aprefects1968bDr Colin Glendinning

Left: Paul Kelly, T Griffiths, Paul Weirick, R Priddy

Centre – Colin Glendinning 1968 — Right and in 2011.

 

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Cronulla on my mind

Had an email the other day:

I just stumbled on an old webpage of yours that mentions Mt Keira, and its significance in Dharawal culture. You go on to describe the story of how Mt Keira and the Five Islands were formed. There’s a suggestion that you had just read about it in a book you had found in Wollongong Library. Would you be able to tell me which book it was?

Well, I did reply. Received another email just now:

Many thanks Neil,

After checking the two PDFs that you suggested, and doing a bit more searching, I was able to find the story in one of Michael Organ’s PDF’s, which gave the source of the story as featuring in the Illawarra Mercury in 1950.

So I think I was able to get to the source of the story that you mentioned in your blog, which has been very helpful to me.

My point of interest was in fact trying to find the origin of “Lilli Pilli” as in the place name, and since it turns up in that story with exactly the same spelling, I was very curious about it.

By the way, I’m sure it will interest you to know that I was a student at Cronulla High School, while you were teaching there, from about 1965 to 1970, although I was never in one of your classes, I remember you as (I think) a member of the English staff, is that right?

Almost right, except that 1969 was my last year. I had a great visit to the school for its 50th anniversary, and a follow-up lunch at Hazelhurst in Gymea. See posts tagged Cronulla.

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Today: the 50th NSW Higher School Certificate!

And I taught the first one! See If the jacarandas are out, the HSC must be coming… and HSC 50 years on.

Sheep Husbandry was not on offer at Cronulla High School where I as a newly minted English teacher fronted what would be the first 3rd Level (i.e. bottom) English Year 11 class in 1966. So strictly speaking this year it is 49 years since that first HSC, which was sat in 1967.

I did return to Cronulla back in 2011. See these posts: How young we were! (and do read the comment thread!) and Here I am at the Cronulla High 50th!

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Revisiting Cronulla High in 2011

See also 2017 HSC written exam timetable and HSC begins for 70,000 NSW students. There were 18,000 in 1967.

Back fifty years…

This death notice came as a shock, but also took me back. Annette Perry, as she was then, was a colleague at Cronulla High School fifty years ago. Later she married another colleague, Lawrie Butterfield. They entered my life again in 1977-78 when I was working in teacher education at Sydney University. Through Annette and Lawrie I became involved in the Balmain Theatre Group at that time. Annette and Lawrie were then living in Rozelle, I in Glebe. As I noted in 2009:  “I was fortunate enough to meet [playwright] Alex Buzo on several occasions, most memorably when I played a Rugby League commentator in his The Roy Murphy Show for the Balmain Theatre Group in 1978.” I note that Lawrie went on to be Principal of the Open High School in Randwick: see (2004) Gift of languages on his tongue and world at his feet. According to Annette’s death notice she was aged 75, living  in Sunbury, Victoria, when she passed away. There is to  be a memorial service in Sydney.

Back to when and where Annette, Lawrie and I first met:

How young we were!

Yes, not all that much older than the class. And a good English class it was too! There’s a present Professor from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and U Sydney in the back row for starters…


Thanks to Marilyn Markham (Berriman) Cronulla High Class of 68. I think that’s her end front row right.

My 1967: Willarong Point, Caringbah

Fifty years on and I don’t look a day older! 😉

See this 2010 post about Cronulla High School:

How young we were!

Posted on May 3, 2010 by Neil

Yes, not all that much older than the class. And a good English class it was too!…

My family rocketed around The Shire in the 60s, for various reasons: see About the Whitfields: Wandering Willie’s Tales.

“Wandering Willie” is a blind fiddler who tells a tale-within-a-tale in Sir Walter Scott’s Redgauntlet, a novel I read for English I at Sydney University when I was 16. Looking back at all the places where I have lived, I find the name apt for myself and for my family. As a feat of memory I tried to recall all the places I had lived, none of them all that far from each other, but certainly many. Here is the result of my attempt:

Sutherland Shire 1943 – 1969

1. 1943-1952 Auburn Street SUTHERLAND
2. 1952-1955 Vermont Street SUTHERLAND (a)
3. 1956-1958 Avery Avenue KIRRAWEE
4. 1959 Box Road, JANNALI
5. 1960-1961 Oyster Bay Road, COMO
6. 1961-1962 Nicholson Parade, CRONULLA
7. 1962-1964 Vermont Street SUTHERLAND (b)
8. 1964-1965 Franklin Road, CRONULLA
9. 1965-1967 Gosport Street, CRONULLA
10. 1967 Willarong Road, CARINGBAH
11. 1968-1969 Woolooware Road, WOOLOOWARE…

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So 1967 saw us for one year in a beautiful spot: Willarong Point in Caringbah South on the Port Hacking River.

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Image: Wiki Commons

I posted the essential details in 2008: Shire childhood, adolescence and early adulthood 4: Cronulla 1961-1962, 1964-1969.

It would take too long to explain why the family moved so much! Add to that mix practice teaching at Cronulla High in 1965, and appointment there 1966-1969, after which my Shire life came to an end, though connections of course continued.

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… Marine artist Ron Scobie locates the following painting on Port Hacking. I include it because it reminds me of the house on Willarong Point. Not that we had a yacht, but there was a boat house at the bottom of the garden where I used to sit and read, and in the water just close to shore swim around with scuba and face mask seeing what was what… We rented the house for a year — house sitting really — and it was probably the most beautiful place we ever lived in The Shire. Oddly, Adrian Phoon hales from somewhere rather close…

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Adrian Phoon posted the following on Facebook in December: it is indeed almost exactly what I saw from the house on Willarong Point.

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